A Chinese woman, who sought treatment for her itchy eyes recently, was found to have more than 100 parasites living in her eyelashes.

According to a report in the Sun, identified as only Xu, suffered from red and itchy eyes for two years. She initially used eye-drops from pharmacy stores to treat it. But when the situation worsened, she went to a hospital in Wuhan in the central Chinese province of Hubei. Doctors found the mites during their checks. In some instances, there were 10 mites on a single follicle.

When doctors questioned Xu, she admitted that she was using the same unwashed pillow case since 2012. Xu was diagnosed with blepharitis. After removing the mites from her eyelashes, she was given medication for conjunctivitis.

Demodex folliculitis, commonly known as eyelash mite, is a parasite that is found in the hair follicles of the face. They can be found in the nose, cheeks, and on the eyelash area. When mites increase in number, they infect the face and cause the eyelashes to fall out. Too much oil secretion or excessive use of eye makeup can cause eyelash mite.

According to a report in the Health Status, it is estimated that 50 percent of people in the United States have the parasite because they do not remove their eye makeup before going to sleep. It is necessary to maintain proper hygiene and wash eyes before going to sleep. Eye makeup, especially mascara, can lead to the growth of these bacteria, the report said.

Older people are much more prone to carry the mites. It is less common in children as they produce less sebum. A study of 29 adults in North Carolina, found that 70 percent of 18-year-olds carried the mites on their face, and it was 100 percent among those above 18.

Some of the symptoms of eyelash mite:

  • The mite bites usually cause skin disorders, inflammation, or itching. The itching is more during the morning hours as the mites leave the follicles at night to mate and lay eggs.
  • Rosacea is another symptom. It usually comes from the bacteria in the feces of the mites.
  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelid, which leaves the eyelid swollen, reddened, burning, and itching.
  • Mites may also lead to cause acne.
  • If the number of mites is too high, it may lead to eye and skin infection.

Ways to get rid of eyelash mites:

  • Use a "no tear" baby soap to wash the face twice a day.
  • Use tea tree products are such as shampoos and face washes.
  • Apply a couple of drops of tea tree oil to the lashes.
  • Avoid using makeup for at least two weeks when the eyes are affected.
  • Buy new make-up kits.
  • Have your spouse checked for demodicosis.
  • Since dogs can also be vulnerable to eyelash mites, it is suggested to get the pets checked by a vet.
  • Use clean bed sheets and pillows.
  • Visit a dermatologist in case of infection.